Today’s Word: ‘Suffering’ as in… we all have, we all do, we all will, we all can. It’s part of the deal.
Nancy Lee and I have some friends who are navigating through some very challenging health issues. This morning while thinking about and praying for them, Nancy Lee ran into this piece from Catherine McNiel’s book All Shall Be Well. We’ll dwell in this for a couple of days. Don’t rush it.
McNiel writes this:
“This is reality: Existence is beauty and pain in equal and astonishing measure. We must acknowledge that joy and suffering coexist as one and not two, that God has not promised a life free from pain but a life lived within pain—and that worship and healing happen only in this place. That God remains with us through the darkest night, present in our most desperate questions. That with this knowledge in our body and soul, we can and will stand, lift our faces and arms, and be fully alive. We must rise and move forward, again and again each day, not in spite of the pain, not with false naïve trust, but with the pain, and in perfect trust. There is no trick or gimmick, no way to escape. There is only God. And as we endure, as we choose life again and again, we grow stronger. We learn to see him even in the dark. Friends, this is the truth. This reality is where God lives, and where we find him, where we worship him. This is the only place where life can be truly and fully embraced. This request, to live abundantly in a world of pain and beauty, is an invitation to life.”
One of the greatest challenges of suffering is finding meaning in it without assigning blame on either ourselves. Or God. We suffer because we’re human. But it’s precisely because we are human that we are able to discern meaning in suffering.
For a few moments today, sit quietly with your hands open and hold those for whom this is more than theory.
Let’s hold them together.